1985–86 Boston Celtics season
|1985–86 Boston Celtics season|
|Head coach||K. C. Jones|
Alan N. Cohen
Hartford Civic Center
|Place||Division: 1st (Atlantic)|
Conference: 1st (Eastern)
|Playoff finish||NBA Champions|
(Defeated Rockets 4–2)
(Gil Santos, Bob Cousy)
SportsChannel New England
(Mike Gorman, Tom Heinsohn)
(Johnny Most, Glenn Ordway)
In 1985–86, the Boston Celtics won 67 games, going 40–1 at home (37–1 at the Boston Garden, 3–0 at the Hartford Civic Center). Those 40 home wins set an NBA record which would only be matched by the San Antonio Spurs in 2016. The 67 total wins were one win shy of tying their franchise record of 68 wins set in 1972–73, and tied for seventh all-time for total wins by a team in a single season.
Larry Bird won his third consecutive MVP award and Bill Walton won the Sixth Man of the Year Award. The team was anchored by the "Big Three" frontcourt of Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, which is frequently ranked among the best frontcourts in NBA history.
In the playoffs, the Celtics swept the Chicago Bulls in three games in the First Round, then defeated the Atlanta Hawks in five games in the Semifinals, before sweeping the Milwaukee Bucks in four games in the Conference Finals to reach the NBA Finals for a third consecutive season. In the NBA Finals, the Celtics faced off against the Houston Rockets in a rematch of the 1981 NBA Finals, which the Celtics won in six games. The Celtics would go on to win their 16th championship and the last for 22 years, defeating the Houston Rockets in six games in the NBA Finals, and had won 82 combined regular season and playoff games, a record that stood until the Chicago Bulls racked up 87 combined wins en route to a title (the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors broke that record with 88 combined wins).
The 1985 NBA Draft took place on June 18, 1985. It was also the first NBA Draft of the "Lottery" era. The lottery was put into place so teams could not intentionally lose games to receive the number one pick.
|1||20||Sam Vincent||Guard||United States||Michigan State|
|3||70||Andre Battle||Guard||United States||Loyola (IL)|
|4||93||Cliff Webber||Forward||United States||Liberty Baptist|
|5||116||Albert Butts||Forward||United States||La Salle|
|6||139||Ralph Lewis||Guard||United States||La Salle|
|7||162||Chris Remly||United States||Rutgers|
- Under head coach K.C. Jones, the 1985–86 Boston Celtics finished the regular season with a record of 67–15. This team is generally considered to be the best of Larry Bird's career. In addition to longtime Celtics Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, the franchise was joined on the front line by former NBA MVP Bill Walton. Despite a career plagued by a series of serious injuries to his knees, ankles and feet, Walton would win the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. Walton had missed essentially the past two seasons and the Los Angeles Clippers put him on the trade block as his contract ran out. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Celtics were both interested, but the Lakers wanted Walton to be cleared by their team doctor before making any trade. The Celtics, on the other hand, were willing to trade Cedric Maxwell for Walton-based solely on his word that he felt he was healthy enough to play. Walton appeared in a career high 80 games. The backcourt was led by the MVP of the 1979 NBA Finals, defensive stopper Dennis Johnson, and former Toronto Blue Jays baseball player, shooting guard Danny Ainge. Off the bench, the Celtics featured former All-Star Scott Wedman and recent acquisition (from the Indiana Pacers) Jerry Sichting.
|x-New Jersey Nets||39||43||.476||28||26–15||13–28||11–13|
|New York Knicks||23||59||.280||44||15–26||8–33||5–19|
|7||x-New Jersey Nets||39||43||.476||28|
|11||New York Knicks||23||59||.280||44|
Record vs. opponents
|1985-86 NBA Records|
|1985–86 Game Log|
Note: GP= Games played; REB= Rebounds; AST= Assists; STL = Steals; BLK = Blocks; PTS = Points; AVG = Average
- First round
(1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Chicago Bulls: Celtics win series 3–0
- Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 17): Boston 123, Chicago 104
- Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 20): Boston 135, Chicago 131 (2OT)
- Game 3 @ Chicago Stadium, Chicago (April 22): Boston 122, Chicago 104
The Celtics steamrolled through the Eastern Conference Playoffs, sweeping the Chicago Bulls 3–0 in the first round. The highlight of the first round was the second game, which went into double-overtime. Matched up against a superior Celtics team, Michael Jordan scored 63 points at the Boston Garden (which set, and remains, the NBA record for scoring in a single playoff game) and nearly led his team to an upset. The Celtics won the game, 135–131, and closed out the series two days later in Chicago.
- Conference Semifinals
(1) Boston Celtics vs. (4) Atlanta Hawks: Celtics win series 4–1
- Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 27): Boston 103, Atlanta 91
- Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 29): Boston 119, Atlanta 98
- Game 3 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 2): Boston 111 , Atlanta 107
- Game 4 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 4): Atlanta 106, Boston 94
- Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 6): Boston 132, Atlanta 99
Boston bested the Atlanta Hawks four games to one in the semifinals. The series was highlighted by a game 5 blow-out. The final score was 132–99, and featured the Celtics hammering the Hawks in the third quarter by a score of 36–6.
- Conference Finals
(1) Boston Celtics vs. (2) Milwaukee Bucks: Celtics win series 4–0
- Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 13): Boston 128, Milwaukee 96
- Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 15): Boston 122, Milwaukee 111
- Game 3 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 17): Boston 111, Milwaukee 107
- Game 4 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 18): Boston 111, Milwaukee 98
The Eastern Conference Finals matched the Celtics up against the Milwaukee Bucks and head coach Don Nelson. Nelson was a former Celtic player who enraged the Celtics in the 1983 NBA Playoffs by accusing Celtic guard Danny Ainge of "dirty" play. The Celtics swept the Bucks. This was the third time in four years that the Bucks and the Celtics had met in the playoffs; the Bucks defeated the Celtics in the 1983 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and the Celtics defeated the Bucks in the 1984 Eastern Conference Finals.
- NBA Finals
(1) Boston Celtics vs. (2) Houston Rockets: Celtics win series 4–2
- Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 26): Boston 112, Houston 100
- Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 29): Boston 117, Houston 95
- Game 3 @ The Summit, Houston (June 1): Houston 106, Boston 104
- Game 4 @ The Summit, Houston (June 3): Boston 106, Houston 103
- Game 5 @ The Summit, Houston (June 5): Houston 111, Boston 96
- Game 6 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 8): Boston 114, Houston 97
Following the conclusion of the 1986 NBA Finals, a video documentary of the 1986 NBA season, known as Sweet Sixteen, was released. David Perry was the narrator after Dick Stockton had narrated the last three NBA season documentaries.
Boston Celtics roster
- Larry Bird, Associated Press Athlete of the Year
- Larry Bird, NBA Most Valuable Player Award
- Larry Bird, NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award
- Larry Bird, All-NBA First Team
- Kevin McHale, All-NBA Defensive First Team
- Dennis Johnson, All-NBA Defensive Second Team
- Bill Walton, NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.